Liver disease


Liver disease
Liver disease

There are many different types of liver disease.  You can help prevent some of them by maintaining a healthy weight and staying within the recommended alcohol limits, if you drink.

Types of liver disease

Some of the most common types of liver disease include:

Alcohol-related liver disease
Possible causes
Regularly drinking too much alcohol

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Possible causes
Being very overweight (obese) - this may cause fat to build up in the liver

Possible causes
Catching a viral infection, regularly drinking too much alcohol

Possible causes
A gene that runs in families and may be passed from parents to children

Primary biliary cirrhosis
Possible causes
May be caused by a problem with the immune system

Symptoms of liver disease

Most types of liver disease do not cause any symptoms in the early stages.

Once you start to get symptoms of liver disease, your liver is already damaged and scarred. This is known as cirrhosis.

See a GP if:

You have symptoms of liver damage (cirrhosis), such as:

Other symptoms may include itchy skin, or feeling or being sick.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with liver disease, the British Liver Trust or Children's Liver Disease Foundation can also offer advice and support.

How to prevent liver disease

The 3 main causes of liver disease are:

You can reduce your risk of many types of liver disease with some simple lifestyle changes:

  • try to maintain a healthy weight
  • not drinking too much alcohol

Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. These are recommended if you're at risk.


You do not have to drink an excessive amount of alcohol to risk damaging your health. Regularly drinking just over the recommended levels can be harmful.

The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website
Last Updated: 12/10/2022 14:25:46